Monday, 7 July 2008

Highlights of EWOB Month 2008: part 2

Text and photos by Lilly Pavlak

Just in three more days I was already heading to the Czech Republic to join Tony Trischka & Druha Trava on their tour. Tony’s last time in the Czech Republic was twelve years ago, in Prague for the fifth anniversary of Druha Trava. He came with the reunion of the band Breakfast Special in 1996. Their friendship began in 1988. Skyline played on their European tour, also the biggest Czechoslovakian festival Porta in Pilsen, in front of 30,000.

Tony with Lubos Malina

Robert Krestan and Lubos Malina performed there with their former band Poutnici, and they became friends, since. Tony always has always been their hero and mentor. Tony can look back at his Czech roots, because his great-grandfather was born there. So after twelve long years he was now able to play in the Czech Republic again.

They performed four concerts and two festivals between 23 and 30 May. From the first moment on their musician collaborations was just brilliant. After not even two hours of rehearsing they performed their first concert together. The excellent Grasscountry Drive band opened this little outdoor event for them and the area was filled up to the last seat. ‘Double Banjo’ with Lubos Malina worked out perfectly, and the rest of the band held their own. The audience was just enthusiastic.

[Colloquial English has devalued 'just' and 'enthusiastic'. A good dictionary will give the full force of Lilly's point here - RH]

Druha Trava & Tony Trischka at Lochotin, Pilsen

Next day we drove to Pilsen to Festival Lochotin after twenty years. The area was a large amphitheatre, the same as at Porta in 1988. Although it was very well visited, an audience of 30,000 will never ever be possible there again. But they received frenetic applause.

Katka Garcia, Emil Formanek, Robert Krestan, Tony

On Sunday they played at a City festival in Teplice. This time Lubos Malina’s second band, Garcia, opened for them. This is a formation around incredible female singer Katka Garcia, playing mostly Celtic music.

On stage at Teplice

Also the Prague concert in Club Mlejn was sold out. Lot of people was standing along the walls. It was the longest concert on the tour and nobody would expect that the musicians rehearsed for the first time just four days ago.

Tony & Druha Trava at Club Mlejn, Prague

Many encores followed. So Tony showed us some solo work, double banjos, duet mandolin-banjo with Robert Krestan, and so on. One of the most beautiful was 'Esher’s waltz' with Lubos playing tarogato, a strange east European woodwind instrument.

The next concert was in my hometown, Brno. Again hopelessly sold out. People standing everywhere and more than fifty were sent home from the box office.

(To be continued)